Košutnjak covers an area of 300 hectares. You can run through it for days, just like our dog Bagheera. It used to be a royal hunting ground. The story goes that there used to be does in it too, but the princes killed them all. Today it’s a forest and not an ordinary one at that. It’s been under the protection of the government since 2014. It’s the most beautiful forest in Belgrade. You can sense a tone of bias, but we have our reasons for it.
Things you can do in Košutnjak
Basically, you can do whatever you want. There are two trim trails – the old one and the new one. The old one, located in the southern part of the forest, is often empty, which is a good thing. The new one is near the Faculty of Sport and PE and it’s overcrowded. There are also plenty picnic spots in Košutnjak – from rock BBQ pits to roofed wooden tables. Beverages and food are also readily available. There are restaurants scattered across the forest, some of which offer fantastic views, such as Alexander club or Rubin. You can play all types of sports, even squash. Most of the people are already familiar with all of this. But what aren’t they acquainted with?
Did you know that there are more than 100 kilometres of trails in Košutnjak? These are absolutely amazing trails which have enabled totally different ways of exploring this part of Belgrade.
Horse riding is something you have to try at least once in your life. The sense of harmony with the animal that occurs as soon as you climb into the saddle is simply unforgettable. The people who have dedicated their lives to these animals have the same characteristics – determination to teach you and the optimism that cannot wipe the smile off their faces.
Recreational horseback riding Belgrade (Rekreativno jahanje Beograd) has come up with the perfect idea to use the vicinity of the racecourse to draw this noble sport, which engages every muscle in your body, deeper into the nature. This way you can start exploring the trails and canopies of Košutnjak only after a couple of basic training lessons. Our special thanks go to our fantastic instructors, Rada and Neša for helping us with our riding experience through the forest. But first and foremost we owe a deep debt of gratitude to the beautiful Lela and the patient Bono.
Camping in Košutnjak is prohibited. Since we’ve never seen a forester, you can easily get away with it. The best campsites are in the southern part i.e. the part behind Pionirski grad. Since there is a very large and complex network of trails, you can easily find great spots that people do not visit.
A couple of tips as far as wild camping is concerned: do not camp in large groups, do not light a fire, DO NOT LEAVE LITTER, do not stay more than one night, keep clear of national parks and reserves because of the forester and stringent control.
There isn’t much difference when it comes to Košutnjak, at least not in our case. We don’t light a fire and we don’t stay for days. After all, the purpose of wild camping is to pitch a tent, feel the atmosphere and move ahead in the morning. Moving ahead usually means going to work in the morning, if you live near Košutnjak as we do.
Don’t hesitate to try. Waking up in the morning with the chirp of birds is a real synesthetic experience.
We don’t know of a better place to get lost in Belgrade than Košutnjak! Armed with just a compass, a map and trainers, feel free to venture into the unknown. The aim is to find all the control points marked in the terrain and on the map by yourself and in the shortest time possible. It’s like being inside a computer game! Orienteering is an immensely enjoyable activity that will quicken your heart rate and brush up your brain.
Faculty of Sport and PE orienteering club (Orijentiring klub DIF) organizes a free orienteering course. You will learn how to read maps and use a compass, but also how to navigate your way by following natural signposts. Travelholics will probably find this to be a very useful skill. Trainings are held in Košutnjak during the weekend and both professional and recreational participants are welcome.
Mountain biking (MTB)
You can find trails for mountain biking in the central and southern part of Košutnjak. These are basically simple trails with dirt jumps. The gals and chaps from the Košutnjak BIKE PARK club are more than willing to guide you through the trails that they use regularly. Everyone is welcome, irrespective of age, and everything is based on good will and volunteerism.
If you prefer to ride through this part of Košutnjak by yourself, they have marked all the trails that they use. You can find more details here. Just for the record, a cruiser bike can hardly do the job on this type of terrain.
Yoga and meditation
Dare salute the Sun from the forest! Košutnjak is the ideal place for finding the balance between the mind, the heart and the body. And this what yoga really is… the harmony of movement, thought and emotion.
Maja Hatha Yoga use every ray of sunshine to reveal the secrets of this body art to all those who are interested to tap into a zen state of mind, stretch their muscles and, above all, relax by breathing fresh air. Classes are usually held between 10 and 12 am on the large glade in the centre of the trim trail and everyone is welcome. The first class is free of charge, so it literally doesn’t cost anything to try something new.
Things you can find if you venture deeper
You can find sage, yarrow, St. John’s wort, wild blackberry and raspberry, nettle, plantain, thyme, wormwood, liquorice, chamomile… you can even stumble upon wild cereal grains. Basically, you can find all you need to survive for a couple of months if you don’t feel like going home. But if you do, you can bring enough herbs to start your own tea production business.
Since we got a dog, we’ve realized that there are more 227 species of insects in Košutnjak, 20 species of small mammals and 15 species of amphibians and reptiles. And the place is simply teeming with birds!
All these activities are wonderful, but one of our favorite ones is to get lost in the forest and when our legs start to hurt, we expect from our GPS device to take us back home.
Not everything is spick and span in Košutnjak. For instance, Prince Mihailo Obrenović was assassinated here. Stambolić, too . After May 1st , it looks more like a dumpsite and in the absence of pet cemeteries, it is full of improvised graves. But everything has its ‘secrets’. Still, it’s the most beautiful forest in the world, especially in winter.